Disclaimer: I do not own I am Number Four. This is the property of Pittacus Lore (James Frey and Jobie Hughes)
John leaned against the cold wall of his cell as he glared at Agent Lance Clark who was pacing back and forth in front of him. It was late, almost midnight and Clark sore into his cell phone before pocketing the device in his impeccable jacket. The FBI agent was tall, lean and pissed off. His black hair which was gelled back nicely now fell into his face. There was zero emotion displayed but John could almost feel the irritation radiating off him. Clark turned, glaring at the boy who refused to speak without seeing Mark.
"We're not going to shot the boy." Clark stated as he pulled a chair over and sat down, resting his arms on the back as he bend forward watching John with intense eyes. You pulled a gun to his head, John thought as he recalled Clark's unsettling steady arm as it pointed a gun to Mark's head. There's no way I'm going to trust you. Clark sighed and resisted the urge to reach into his pocket and yell into his cell phone again. From the gist of the conversation before, John could guess Clark couldn't move him from the dingy Paradise jail to whatever fancy FBI prison they wanted him in. At least not until tomorrow morning. The FBI agent reached into his pocket, withdrawing a cigarette packet and tapped out a white death stick. He didn't lit it, just swirled it around in his fingers. "Seriously, that boy is going to face some charges unless you talk." That caught John's attention as he slowly turned away from the wall to meet Clark's dark gaze. "Oh, now you're going to listen. Let's see, what did Mark James to wrong tonight?" He started in an almost conversational tone. "Hindering a federal investigation, assisting a known felon, struggling arrest?"
"Mark has nothing to do with this." John shouted as he clenched his fists. Clark's straight mouth curled into a knowing smirk. Fuck… John thought.
"Oh really now?" He asked, chewing at the end of his unlit cigarette and tipped his chair back. It took a lot of self-control on John's part not to use an ounce of his telekinesis to tip the chair back a little further. "Then, explain why Mark James was with you tonight unless he was helping with an escape. Hmm… I'm waiting." John searched his mind for anything that could explain Mark's action tonight. The smirk grew even more annoying as the minutes passed. "Nothing? So sad…"
"The terrain around Sarah's home is unfamiliar to me." John answered, hoping he sounded distant and uncaring as his terrorist ego should be. "Sneaking close to Sarah's home was easy but with the police breathing down my neck, I needed a backup plan. Sarah was my first choice but Mark was insistent to the point of being annoying. I took him instead of Sarah to get out of there fast. Obviously not fast enough." John judged Agent Clark's expression, praying he brought the story. John leaned forward, hoping he looked a bit threatening. "Mark is just another Goode boy to me. Insurance." The lie tasted horrible against his lips but he kept on playing. "Now, if you want to see Goode, let me see Mark."
"You're really attached to your insurance." Clark remarked as he stood up, shoving the chair back to the table before walking out, calling for someone to bring the James boy to cell one. John slumped down as the door swung shut, trying to calm his rapid heartbeats. He lied before. Lying was almost as easy as breathing while he was on the run with Henri. But these lies were different then 'yes, this man is my father,' and 'my mother was killed in a car crash.' The door shrieked open again and Clark stepped in with Mark limping in. "There you go, Smith. Your insurance, all safe and sound."
John wasn't looking at Mark though. His eyes were focused on the door that was hovering open a fraction of a second longer than needed. He looked back at Mark who didn't notice anything at all. He was in bad shape with his face swollen and scratched from the fall. Mark was avoiding putting pressure on his left leg; possible twisted his ankle or something like that. Clark didn't even offer the chair to the young man. Instead, he took it and sat down again, staring intensely at the two, waiting for a show.
If you want a show, you're gonna get one. John thought before turning to Mark. "It's your fault for ruining my plans." John spat out, conjuring up as much hatred and anger he could in his statement. Mark's mouth fell open and John continued, hoping Clark didn't notice Mark's surprised expression. "It's because of you I wasn't fast enough. If you weren't there, Sarah and I would be miles away from here." Please, get the hint. John prayed as Mark's mouth twisted into a grimace.
"You think I was going to let you ruin Sarah's life?" Mark shouted back, leaning close now, almost wrapping his fists around the bars in anger. "She's in love with you and you were going to use that for your selfish reasons." Yes, John smiled as the anger radiated off the older boy. "She's still in love with you." John shook his head slowly, resisting the urge to close his eyes as he spread his telekinesis, feeling the room for a familiar presence.
"You were unplanned for, Mark." John continued, eyes flickering to the left of Mark. Clark sat there with his leg propped up, listening intently into the conversation with his arms crossed and black eyes glaring at John. "Why were you there?" That question wasn't from John Smith, the terrorist, but rather John Smith, the Loric. His heart still ached when Sarah and Mark were locked in a friendly hug. "You're her ex. She wanted nothing to do with you before but why now?" Mark's expression fell from fury to weary.
"After you left, she was devastated." Mark started, voice trailing off at the end. "She was alone, left to pick up the pieces you shattered. I am her ex but that doesn't mean I'm not her friend." John frowned, knowing those words were half-lies. He was more than a simple friend. The way Mark moved around Sarah and her family. Their interaction and words that practically screamed couple. John's mouth opened slightly as an idea flashed through his mind. Mark's still in love with Sarah. And she might love him back. The second thought hurt the most because it could be true, truer than Sarah loving John.
"You love her." John murmured as he watched Mark's mouth drop and the lights dying. Clark jumped up from his seat but before a word could escape his mouth, he felt hard onto the cement ground, unconscious. John's cell door swung open by itself just as Six materialized in front of him, cradling a metal bat in her slender hands and a pissed expression. "Nice timing." John said as Mark stared awed at the girl in front of him.
"Shut up, idiot and give me your hand." Six ordered as she tugged him forward and turned towards Mark. "Thanks for the distraction." Mark numbly nodded his head as the siren's started screeching. "And sorry."
"Wha – " Mark said just before Six touched her hand to his forehead. Mark then fell unconscious, falling into the chair. She gave John a pointed look before grabbing his hand and disappearing just as the door burst open, revealing Sheriff James and a few officers. Six maneuvered John soundlessly towards the door, slipping out as the chaos started in the room.
John sighed as he slightly shifted, slowly becoming more uncomfortable with every passing minute. He has been on the back of Six's motorcycle for hours, tightly clenching the back of the seat with his strong fingers, nearly falling off with every bump she hits. She was easily jetting at a speed of ninety-two mph for the past two hours, showing no signs of easing off the throttle. John knew she was pissed at him. Her iron grip and rigid posture were indications of her anger. John turned away from staring at the back of her helmet and lost himself in his thoughts.
Six grind her teeth together as she stared at the road in front of her. John really messed up this time; he'd actually gotten captured. He inadvertently placed them in danger, almost exposing the Lorics to the world. Six's highly active imagination started running, supplying her images of John strapped to a medical table, having doctors in white coats probing at his half naked body. John was almost taken away from the, and that scared her. She didn't want to admit it but it scared her. The thought of him being taken away, leaving her to deal with this mess all by herself again. Six didn't allow this side of her to show. She just locked it under a cold mask and focused on the yellow lines against the dark asphalt.
"Um Six, don't you think we're going a little fast?" John yelled through his helmet and over the roaring motor. No response. All Six did was keep her grip tightly on the throttle, scowling underneath the strong glass of her helmet. "Six…" He tried again, debating if he should reach out and touch her but didn't because of the slim chance she might lose control. "You need to calm down; we're going to get hurt." Again, there was no answer.
Suddenly, a bright beam of light temporary blinded John's eyes. He closed his eyes and turned his head, catching a glimpse of the vehicle approaching them at a rapid speed. His cobalt blue eyes widen and John reached out, grabbing the edge of Six's motorcycle jacket. "You wouldn't…" She barely acknowledged his existence behind her, just like how she barely glanced at the semi-truck barreling towards them. "Six, this isn't funny!" An ear-shattering honk of the truck drowned out the rest of John's statement as he wrapped his arms around Six's waist and tried to grab the controls. They were barely out of his reach. "Alright, alright," he shouted. "I've messed up Six. I admit it. I know I should've stayed but I left. I just couldn't take it anymore." John started to panic when the semi-truck started coming into view. "God damn it, Six. What good would killing me do?" Again, she ignored him, keeping her hand steady on the throttle. "The true is, I didn't know what the hell was going on through my head. I was mad, angry, frustrated, tired hurt… I don't know. But come on Six, don't do this."
He could see the grill of the semi-truck, the frighten expression of the drive and feel his adrenaline pumping through his veins. Using almost all of his Loric strength, John tried to jerk the girl but she wouldn't budge. "Six," he shouted. "Six… SIX!" He screamed at the top of his lungs. John closed his eyes, bracing for the searing pain and loosened his grip around Six's waist. But then tightened it when he felt Six take a swift turn to the left, pulling them off the two lane road. Six expertly skid the motorcycle to a complete stop and killed the motor. She half-glanced at John who sat shell-shock on the bike as she got off. The truck give one final threatening honk before driving on like nothing happened.
"I think we both know what was going through you head, John." Those were the first words out of Six's mouth since she saved his butt from the police station. She slides her helmet off, revealing her golden locks and sullen expression. "Nothing."
"I said I was sorry." John grumbled as he swung his leg off and unclipped his helmet. He tried to hide his rapid breathing and forced his heart to calm down. But all he could think about was the blinding light of the headlamps, the thundering honks of the horn and the relentless speed and power of the motorcycle. John swore he almost saw his life flash before his eyes.
"Did you, John?" Six questioned over her shoulder, giving him a half-view of her beautiful profile. "Because if I remember correctly, you didn't. Screaming for your life, yes. Apologize? Not so much." John stood there stunned as she walked towards the cliff that overlooked the canyon. "But don't waste your breath. I don't want an apology now." John wordlessly followed her as she sat down, pulling one knee up to her chest and the other dangling dangerously over the edge. Her blue eyes glanced up at the star-filled sky, taking deep calming breaths. John though could see the slight tremble that moved across her usually rigid shoulders. Ignoring her past comment, John sat on her left, not too close to touch her but enough that she could feel his presence.
"I'm sorry, Six." He whispered, keeping his eyes forward as he traced the mountain range in the distance. He could feel her gaze on his cheek but he kept his eyes on the horizon. "I really am sorry."
"Why am I not surprised that I say one thing and you do the complete opposite?" She asked, sighing into her knee.
"Because I'm a really bad listener." John joked with a playful smirk. She moved to shove him but John quickly caught her hand. The fight in the motel room flashed in front of his eyes and he instantly released her wrist like it burned. Six didn't miss the uncertainty in his eyes as he turned away from her. "Six, how many times do I have to say 'I'm sorry' until you finally believe me?" The hesitation was apparent in his voice.
I shouldn't do this, Six thought as she reached out to touch his warm cheek, manually turning his gaze towards her. Their eyes met and Six swore she felt an electric current between them. Unconsciously, she bit her lower lip close enough to draw blood but didn't pull her hand away from his hot skin. "Say it one more time," she whispered, half-praying he couldn't hear her but nothing escaped their Loric hearing.
"I'm sorry." John repeated, slowly reaching up and capturing her hand in his. He turned his head, kissing her palm and then the tips of her finger. John wasn't sure what possessed him but he couldn't stop. This is way to intimate, John thought but he needed her to believe his apology. And Six did. How couldn't she not when she's staring into those heartbreaking blue eyes and seeing the desperation in them. She extracted her hand away which still tingled from the butterfly soft kisses John placed on the tips. The two teens sat in silence as they both gazed at the stars, trying to dispel the new tension between them. "Six, do you remember anything about Lorien?" John asked, breaking the tense silence that fell over them.
Again, she bit her lower lip and pulled her right knee closer to her, resting her chin on top. "Only a bit," Six admitted, closing her tired azure eyes.
"Like how the trees would tower over the homes and the tall grass would tickle my cheek as I ran through the meadow." Behind her eyelids, Six conjured up images from the deep recesses of her mind. These were memories she would depend on when things were too hard and she has lost all faith in saving Lorien. "I remember how clean the air felt as I gasped for breath and how cool the water from the brook beside my house felt against the balls of my feet. I remember Katarina watching me with cautious green eyes and my grandparents behind her laughing. I miss them…"
"How old were you when we left?" John wondered, trying to pick on his memories.
"And you remember back that far?" She nodded, tracing constellations with her eyes. Orion, Ursa major and minor… "I can barely remember anything. What do you remember about your grandparents?"
She let out a tired sigh but not an annoyed one. Closing her eyes again, Six focused on her grandparents. "My grandfather taught me the constellations." She whispered, recalling his scratchy beard against the top of her head as he held her in his warm lap. "Every night we would sit on the front porch of our house, gazing up at the stars like we are now. I would always fall asleep to the sound of his voice as he listed the constellations. Orion," Six muttered as she traced the lines of the hunter for John. "Hercules, Sagittarius…" A small smile played on her lips as she drew the invisible lines connecting the dots in the sky. "He would carry me to my bed and then Grandma and he would kiss my forehead murmuring how much they love me." Six clenched her pendant, focusing on the steady beating of her heart. "I never understood how they still had so much love and adoration in their eyes after being married for so long. They were so silly around each other with Grandfather tugging at Grandma's ponytail. She would always slap his leg in response and muttered how childish he was with a smile on her face." Six took a deep breath, not sure why these words were leaving her lips but she kept on going. "But now I think I get it. The last time I saw them was when Katarina scooped me up and ran towards the rocket. I was looking over her shoulders, bawling and trying to reach for my grandma." Six closed her eyes, trying to will the tears away as they pooled at the corner of her eyes. "They wore the same tragic expression on their faces as they watched me go. Grandfather's arm was tightly wrapped around Grandma's waist like he was trying to hold her up and hold himself together. At that time, I knew they love me but the love for each other was greater. I think they also knew that Lorien was going to fall too."
John allowed her words to sink in, listening to the night sounds around them. A love so strong that they would rather die together than continue living without the other, John thought as he lay against the gravel, tracing Orion's bow before closing his eyes. He tried to conjure up an image of a three year old Six. She would be sitting there in a white dress with her blond hair tied up and a sour pout on her face. Her blue eyes which are sharp and cold now would be bright and innocent. He could almost see her pout shifted into a huge smile at the sight of Katarina or her grandfather. John couldn't fathom what life-changing events that shaped Six into what she was today. The sweet native girl in his mind eye seemed like a whole different person from the young confident soldier-like woman beside him. But hearing Six speak so fondly about her grandparents, he could see the little girl inside her. A girl who would have her hair tied up in pigtails and a smile that would show off her pearly whites. A small smile played along his mouth at the thought.
Six turned to look at John. He appeared so relaxed, laying there with his arms tucked behind his head and one leg propped up. His clothes were covered in dust from the hectic ride over. His hoodie was unzipped, revealing his plain white t-shirt that hugged his lean torso. His jeans were dirty from his run in the forest behind Sarah's house. Tiny cuts from branches appeared on his handsome face. "You look sad." Six nearly jumped when his voice broke through her thoughts. He was staring at her with clear blue eyes, smile still tugging at his lips. "Penny for your thoughts?"
"A penny would get you nothing." She replied, turning away from him. John rolled his eyes before sitting up, running his fingers through his already messy hair.
"Yeah well, I have a whole Loric chest full of jewels. What would that get me?" She ignored him which John sighed at. "Come on, Six. I promise I won't run off and do something crazy. Scout's honor."
"You're not a boy scout." Six said as she shoved his knee. He openly smiled back before laying down again, closing his eyes. Six chuckled into her knee and turned back to stare at the dark horizon. "It's just an idea that lingers in my head." John opened one of his eyes, staring at her golden waves as she spoke. "Are we lucky to get out or Lorien alive?" He shot up quickly, staring wide-eyed at the back of her head, wondering if he actually heard those words out of her mouth. Six's lips curled into a cynical smile as she felt his hard glare. "I'm serious, John. Have you ever wonder what would happen if we stayed behind?"
We'll be dead. That was John's first thought but he knew that wasn't the answer she was looking for. He knew because Six's, unwavering, sturdy drill sergeant Six's voice faltered. And then it was silent. He looked away from her and back at the stars in the distance, thinking hard about what she just said. Are we lucky or are we just struggling against the inevitable end? John couldn't find a worthy answer to Six's question. He wasn't sure if there was an answer that would satisfy her. Turning back, he observed her profile. Her long hair was tied back in a low ponytail with a few stubborn strands escaping her knot and brushing her chin. Her eyes were glazed as she sat there lost in her own thoughts. The loose motorcycle jacket provided little warm especially with a thin tank top underneath. She looked so helpless, sitting there with her arms wrapped around her right knee. Without thinking, John shuffled over and placed his arm around her thin waist, pulling her close. He was impressed Six didn't react to his tough and punch him in the throat. He moved close enough so he could comfortable place his chin on her shoulder, sharing his warmth. The girl leaned back against his chest, feeling his breath against her ear. "I don't know." He answered truthfully.
"You're an idiot." She replied back, turning just so she could see his face out of the corner of her eye. His breath was warm against her cheek. "I didn't expect you to know." John hid his face in her shoulder, chuckling. Six could feel the vibration through her body as the boy laughed. It mystified her on how little they knew each other and yet she was painfully comfortable with him like how she was with Katarina or Alek. The name flashed in front of her eyes but she quickly chased it away, avoiding the heartache it brought her. Maybe it's because he's Loric. Maybe it's because he's John. Whichever it was, Six closed her eyes and leaned in a bit more, inhaling his scent and thanking whoever was watching them that he was by her side and not in a jail cell. "I'm probably going to regret this but why did you need to see Sarah?" John opened his eyes and rested his chin on her shoulder again, brooding over the subject.
"Henri once told me that Lorics only fall in love once." John started, hugging Six close, craving for some form of contact. Six reached down and squeezed his arm at the sound of his deceased Cepan's name. It was equally difficult for her to speak Katarina's name without getting teary eyed. "I just thought Sarah was my one and only love, the girl I needed to see, needed to hold in my arms, needed to kiss to feel a bit of happiness. That one week on the road drove me insane and I just had to see her. I guess she didn't feel the same way." His arms instinctively tightened around her waist and Six flinched slightly. "Sorry…" he whispered before letting her go and standing up to pace.
Six watched him carefully as he paced like a caged panther. She could see the powerful back muscles underneath his jacket as he rolled his shoulders, trying to relieve the tension. John stuffed his fists into his pockets, turning away from Six in a sad attempt to hide his emotions in his blue eyes. Biting her lip, Six contemplated her next move. She slowly pushed herself up, brushing the dust off her jeans and stood a safe distance away from the brooding boy. She has seen that expression before, the I-am-so-frustrated-at-life face, the why-can't-things-just-go-right look, the can-I-just-quit gaze. She's seen those looks on her face but they just look wrong on John's.
"John," the boy looked up at her voice, taking in her guarded posture. She was holding her left arm with her right, running her fingers up and down the fabric like a nervous habit. Her azure eyes avoid his as she focused on the ground. He finally stopped his shuffling and waited for her. Slowly, Six looked up, matching his intense stare. "John, our kind only fall in love once. Lorics fall in love once. Sarah isn't Loric. She's human." John wanted to fight her, argue against her sound logic but something stopped him. A nagging feeling tugged at the back of his mind as John stared at Six's vulnerable stance and listened to her voice despite the harsh truth. There was such a sad but understanding tone in her voice, it felt as if she has experienced the same thing he was. But this is Six, John reasoned as she walked by him, squeezing his forearm and giving him a small reassuring smile before heading back towards the bike. Six doesn't have feelings.
He stood there for a few seconds, feeling a slight tingling where her fingers squeezed his arm. The feeling wasn't strange, almost pleasant and John wasn't sure if he liked it or not. Shaking his head, John ran his fingers through his hair and grabbed his helmet before jogging back to catch up with her. Six was already tucking her blond strands into her helmet and push the key back into the ignition. John pulled himself up and debated where to place his hands before wrapping them comfortable around her lithe waist. The feelings from before nagged him again but John ignored him, leaning in so she could hear his voice over the revs of the engine. "Hey Six, just one quick request.' Her dark visor was down but she turned her head, showing she was listening. "Please go a little bit easier this time. I'll like to live." John could hear her scoff in her helmet and mutter 'baby' before pulling onto the road, back towards Sam and Bernie.
1oooWords A/N: there you go everyone, a nice healthy dose of John/Six. This may be the last of our speedy updates since the next chapter has been kicking our butts and the summer heat is frying our brains. A lot of nice encouraging reviews might kick-start the process though, so please review and tell us if you love or hate it.